Thursday, May 18, 2006

Live: Gomez

I've been really enjoying the new Gomez effort, How We Operate. The band has created a strong set of songs that sound very refined, but without sacrificing the essence of what has made them a great band -- the songs are polished, but Gomez sounds very loose. The band's signature diversity is still present, but is presented in a way that doesn't isolate a song or group of songs as prior albums had at times. After four proper albums, Gomez finally play to their stregths all the way through, namely Ben Ottewell's raspy vocal and a strong sense of melody.

ATO Records has done a strong promotional job behind the release as well, something Gomez deserves after Virgin glossed over it last two efforts. The title track, and lead single in the U.S., is one of the band's best songs to date. I'm still not sold on the lead U.K. single (and presumably the second U.S. release) "girlshapedlovedrug." The album's lone plateau, the song isn't catchy enough to make it stand out from its competition on radio, nor enough of the band's signature sound to further the Gomez brand. A fine song, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't shine like so much of the album. A record label wouldn't be brave enough to release it, but I think "Cry On Demand" would be a stellar choice to release to radio. It isn't Ben sung, but it's both interesting and poppy enough to be a player on the major rock radio formats. My release schedule would be as follows (planned U.S. releases in parenthesis):

1. How We Operate
2. All Too Much (girlshapedlovedrug)
3. Cry On Demand (See the World)

Grand Emporium || Kansas City, Mo. || May 15, 2006
On Monday night, I had the chance to see the band play live, packt like sardines in the tiny Grand Emporium. The band was dynamic as always and proved itself to be one of the better live bands around.

Setlist: Shot Shot, All Too Much, Silence, See the World, Nothing Is Wrong, Ping One Down, Notice, Blue Moon Rising, "Who's taping Grey's Anatomy?", How We Operate, Ruff Stuff, Hamoa Beach, Girlshaped, Detroit Swing 66, Tear Your Love Apart, Fill My Cup, Get Myself Arrested.
Encore: Chasing Ghosts, Devil Will Ride, Whippin' Piccadilly.

"How We Operate" is already an amazing live song, the band take it for a little walk when the song-proper winds down; it also served as the marker when the night really started to pick up some momentum and the Monday night crowd started to loosen up, a bit. "Ruff Stuff" and Ben's brilliant delivery on the "Come backs" was the tipping point and the remaining laggards in the crowd were overwon.

Tomorrow, I'll put up some live stuff from recent radio sets. I'll also try to update more steadily. It's hard to think what I'm listening to is post-worthy, since it's either Gomez or albums that I didn't dive into when they were released (Elbow, Bloc Party) or have covered already (Both Sides of the Gun).


korova said...

I saw them a couple of years ago on the In Our Gun tour, and they wee very impressive live. I like the new album a lot, much better than Split the Difference. It just seems light years ahead of most indie music (which I generally don't like!).

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